Religious Orders

What's wrong with the Pledge?

Posted: Friday March 12 2010 @ 10:13am

Religious Order: Politics

This is an old post from an old site, in the wake of the original decision, one that has just been reversed.


I'm pleased as punch with the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals' recent decision that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance violate the Constitution. It's plainly obvious that they do so, but our court system has always been scared to actually say so. While our poor excuse for a Supreme Court will certainly overturn this decision, it's good to know that there are at least two Federal judges left with some courage and integrity! Too bad Congress is full of cowards. Just because we haven't always had the strength of our convictions in the past, doesn't excuse that lack of strength today.

I'm painfully aware that most people disagree with me. But for the life of me, I don't understand why. I was trying to think of a way to explain what's wrong with the Pledge when I came up with this. Just replace the word "God" with the phrase "White Rule." This works for both the pledge:

"one nation, under White Rule, with liberty and justice for all"

As well as for the national motto, seen on currency among many other places:

"In White Rule We Trust"

The neat thing is that all the usual arguments for the inclusion of "God" still apply:

Reasons to include "God" Reasons to include "White Rule"
This is a Christian country and you had better just get used to it. This is a white-ruled country and you had better just get used to it.
The majority of Americans are Christians. The majority of Americans are white.
(Still true as of the 1990 census.)
It's not actually an endorsement of religion. It's not actually an endorsement of racism.
It's merely an acknowledgment of our Christian heritage. It's merely an acknowledgment of our white ruling heritage.
The founding fathers approved of the use of "God." The founding fathers approved of white rule.
(Quite explicitly, I might add.)
We've always permitted the use of the term "God" before so we shouldn't stop now. We've always permitted white rule before so we shouldn't stop now.
It doesn't specify a particular religion.
(Well, it doesn't specify a particular monotheic religion
with a personified male deity.)
It doesn't specify a particular white race.
(It could be the Irish, or maybe the Norwegians.)
Our nation's moral fiber has weakened ever since we took the concept of "God" out of our schools. Our nation's moral fiber has weakened ever since we took the concept of "White Rule" out of our schools.
If you take "God" out of the pledge, next you'll be taking it off our currency.
(Or vice-versa.)
If you take "White Rule" out of the pledge, next you'll be taking it off our currency.
(Or vice-versa.)
Our founding fathers would be spinning in their graves if they knew we took "God" out of our government. Our founding fathers would be spinning in their graves if they knew we took "White Rule" out of our government.

If the arguments are the same and equally valid, then I guess it would be okay to include "White Rule" in both the Pledge and in the motto. Any of you Pledge supporters have a problem with that? Maybe now you're beginning to understand why the inclusion of "God" isn't a good thing in a society that has a diversity of citizens and claims to have freedom of religion.

The point here isn't to try to equate religion with racism. The point is that the Constitution provides protection against the government encouraging and endorsing both religion and racism. (Albeit through different mechanisms.) I think most people would agree that including "White Rule" in the Pledge and in the motto would violate the constitutional rights of non-white folks. However, if the arguments for the inclusion of "God" are valid, then they're also equally valid for "White Rule." The painfully obvious conclusion is that the arguments for inclusion are invalid and that the inclusion of "God" violates the Constitution.

Note that the issue here isn't whether religion is good or bad. The Constitution protects against government sponsorship of religion. The inclusion of "God" does constitute such sponsorship as surely as would the inclusion of "White Rule."

Frankly, I think the real problem here is that most Americans don't really believe in the First Amendment. Each of us tends to think that everyone one else should believe and act like they themselves do. I think that's a natural tendency, but one that we need to fight. The First Amendment is the cornerstone of our society. A diversity of beliefs and ideas is the very strength upon which this country was built. It's much more important than some shared religious view.


No comments yet!


Your Name:

Your Email:
(not shown, but logged along with your IP)

Your comments:
(no HTML allowed, at all)

9 plus 9 equals


Secular Stuff

RSS 2.0 Feed